From 2018, companies with more than 250 employees will be required to make their gender pay gap publicly available online. Employers that fail to address gender pay disparities will also be highlighted in new league tables intended to drive progress. The launch of a new project has coincided with the governments publication of these planned reporting rules for the gender pay gap.
Rhys Davies of The Administrative Data Research Centre Wales (ADRC Wales) and WISERD and Alison Parken of Cardiff Business School are members of the recently established GW4 Pay Equality Research Consortium (PERC). The consortium is a multi-disciplinary team headed by Professor Carol Woodhams at Exeter Business School. Other PERC colleagues include Dr Gregory Schwartz of Bristol University and Dr Susan Milner of Bath University.
Persistent pay inequality amongst men and women still poses a challenge for employees, policy-makers, organisations, and economies. Concerns include the causes of the pay gap, its consequences and possible remedies. The regulation of pay equality highlights tensions between economic concerns and social/individual concerns. These tensions are reflected in the differing assumptions that underpin research approaches.
Discussions about pay gaps are controversial across academic disciplines and at all levels of society. In a context dominated by government discourses of deregulation and a voluntary approach to pay transparency, little resource has been allocated to close gaps. Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 has not been implemented. The government’s Think, Act, Report initiative, which requires the voluntary release of company pay data, has not been widely adopted. Sector-specific studies demonstrate that pay gaps are still considerable and also interactional.
This project will provide new impetus to the field. A central goal of this GW4 consortium will be to determine the feasibility of establishing a multi-disciplinary team that will enable ground-breaking integrative equal pay research via the systematic collection of data using innovative methods. Ultimately, findings will have economic, managerial, human resource and policy implications.
GW4 universities employ around 40 colleagues working directly on pay and income inequality, gender disadvantage or affiliated areas within research institutes and centres. GW4 funding will enable the research team to formalise links between groups, consolidating and integrating separate research clusters to strengthen collective interdisciplinary expertise.
GW4 Project Page:
UK Government consultation on mandatory reporting of the gender pay gap: